Famous Friday // Marilyn Diptych

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Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych, acrylic on canvas, 2054 x 1448 mm, 1962. Location: Tate Modern

During the Fall 2017 semester, I enrolled in a Contemporary Art course simply because it was taught by one of my favorite art history professors. I haven’t had that much of an interest in contemporary art because I thought that I didn’t understand it, or that it wasn’t real art. Several years ago I even walked through a few floors of Tate Modern, in London, hoping to further understand the topic. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t appreciate the contemporary art that was at Tate. But now, after taking a course on Contemporary art I feel much differently. So get ready for this week’s Famous Friday featuring one of Warhol’s most recognized work of art – Marilyn Diptych.

Marilyn Diptych is made on two silver screened canvases. Warhol screen printed 50 images of Marilyn Monroe onto each side of the canvas. This form looks very familiar to Christian iconic diptychs. This could potentially be referencing the way that society places celebrities on a pedestal in a similar way that Christians apotheosize Jesus and the Virgin. Check out an example below:

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Jan Gossaert, Diptych of Jean Carondelet, 1517.

Christian diptych art wasn’t the only art movement that Warhol was referencing in this piece. For example, Warhol was acknowledging the works of Jackson Pollock and the abstract expressionism movements. This can be seen in the all over composition of the work as well as in the carelessness of the application of the paint. And of course, another connection between the two can be drawn in the fact of the monumental scale of the diptych.

However, like all of Warhol’s works his Marilyn Diptych was not simply trying to critique Christianity, but instead was attempting to critique all of modern and contemporary life. We know that the image that Warhol appropriated was from Niagara in 1953. Warhol is a distinguished illustrator and could have easily drawn his own image of Marilyn. Instead, he appropriated a press release image in order to comment on the consumer society which we live in.

Postcards from // Colorado Springs + Denver

Happy, happy birthday to me! Today I celebrated my 22nd birthday by waking up in our cute AirBnB just outside of Denver! Our first expedition of the day was at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs was a few hours south of our AirBnb, so we decided to set off first thing in the morning (after breakfast of course, because who do you think we are). As soon as we exited the metro area of Denver, the weather took a turn for the worse. It started sleeting, and icing while we were on the highway with semi trucks going 75+ mph. It was hella spooky, but we made it to Garden of the Gods (all in one piece!) right as the sun began to emerge. And man oh man, was it a beautiful site! We spent most of the morning climbing around on the rocks and photographing the surrounding area before heading back to one of the many breweries in Denver.

We decided to go to the Great Divide Brewery. It sort of seemed like it was in a sketchy location because there was a lot of road construction happening on the road outside the brewery. However, the inside of the building was super nice and had a great aesthetic for a beer joint. We hit up the taco truck outside before ordering a round of grapefruit beers and settled in for a rather enjoyable birthday lunch.

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The final stop on our Colorado journey was at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Denver. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge art buff (and I’m actually studying art history in college – say whaaaat?). They had a small exhibit which featured Mexican artists throughout the museum.

We were exhausted once we finally returned to the Airbnb, so we simply ordered takeout sushi and ate dinner whilst watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix.

Honestly, I had the coolest birthday weekend, and I can’t wait to see the many adventures that 22 brings.

 

Favorite Photos of 2017

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is wrapping up already! This year has flown by, and I can’t believe that 2018 will be my last full year in undergraduate school. 2018 promises to be filled with loads of new experiences (including applying for grad schools!), but for now I want to reminisce about 2017. So without further ado, here are some of my most cherished photographs from this year.

Favorite Scenic Photograph:6C2C0133As you may know, my friends and I spent most of our Thanksgiving break road tripping across the country to Colorado. On our first day in Denver, we found ourselves in Eldorado Canyon State Park. This stop wasn’t on our itinerary, and I’m so glad that we found ourselves in the park. We were fortunate enough to be able to see this glorious sunset!

Favorite Portrait (B&W):000446460036

For most of this year I have been working on a 52 Weeks of Film Project, where I use at least one roll of film per week to photograph what is happening in my life. Sami and I both rushed our sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, this past semester and once she heard about the project she graciously offered to sit for some portraits. They totally turned out great, and I’m particularly proud of this one!

Favorite at a Botanical Garden:000445250033

For some reason this year, I found myself at a variety of different botanical gardens. Maybe it was chance, or maybe it was because during the fall semester I was enrolled in a botany course and became mildly obsessed with plants for about 14 weeks. Either way, my love for plants definitely developed this past year, and I even started a mini succulent garden in my college apartment.

Favorite Portrait (color): img_0256

I love being a photographer because I get to meet the coolest people! Ally is no exception! Ally is a life long lover of golf, so of course we had her session at her local course. I had so much fun learning about golf, and getting to know Ally. Best of all, look at how awesome the light is on her face and hair in this shot – proud photog moment for sure!

Favorite Portrait (film): 
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I’ve been doing digital photography since high school, but I just started doing film this year. The learning curve has been pretty steep, but I think that finally (6 months later!) I’ve finally gotten the hang of it. This photo of my lovely pal was one of the first film portraits that I took that I was remotely proud of.

Favorite Eclectic Photograph: 6C2C0374cpy

My photography style typically involves up close headshots, and very little background. However, when Halee wanted to take photos at an adorable antique shop in downtown St. Charles I couldn’t say no to capturing all of the surroundings at the shop!

Favorite Photographs on Campus: 

 

By far the worst thing about going to school in a small town is how suffocating campus can be. Sometimes it feels like you see and do the same things over and over again, until you’re able to leave for a school break. However, I convinced my friends to let me photograph them on campus. Not only did I have a great time hanging out with my friends, but I also loved getting to see my campus in a new light.

Favorite Travel Memory:

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I would consider traveling to be one of the best (and important) parts of my life. I think that experiencing new cultures is something that we should all definitely do as much as possible. I’m incredibly lucky that I was able to travel to a variety of new places this year, but my favorite was by far Monterrey, California. My friend and I spent hours and hours exploring the fishermen’s wharf, and it was one of the coolest places that I’ve been in a while.

Favorite Duo Photograph:6C2C6260

I feel like this may be one of my favorite photographs that I have ever taken. I don’t have any reason why in particular, but I just adore it oh so much. Plus, have you seen Mack’s pup – LOVE!

Favorite Candid Photograph:41110009Every September my mom and her boyfriend have a Labor Day celebration at their home. Their hometown has a balloon derby that weekend as well, so it’s always a good time. This year both of my roommates, and my friend from my time at Mizzou and her boyfriend all voyaged to my parents house to hang out and enjoy the last bits of summer together.

Famous Friday // A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

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Georges Surat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-86, oil on canvas, 3079.75in x h2076.45in. Location: Art Institute of Chicago.

Over this past summer I took a writing intensive course for my degree about chess. The class culminated in a long research paper comparing and contrasting chess to something else. For my essay, I chose to write about chess and art. Long story short, I used Surat’s oil painting to help convey the similarities between art and chess – perks of going to a liberal arts school!

Anyways, on to the art we go! This work is Surat’s largest and most famous work of art, and one of the best examples of pointillism technique. The work itself depicts a relaxing afternoon on an island on the outskirts of Paris.

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See where the island is located outside of Paris!

Seurat spent many afternoons sitting and drawing in the park to perfect the form of his figures. At first glance we see a variety of individuals relaxing. To the right, a couple is on a leisurely stroll. To the left, we see a woman fishing, as well as people sailing along the Seine River. With further inspection, however, the viewer is able to see that not everything is as it seems in the painting. The woman who appeared at first glance to be on a leisurely walk with her husband is actually walking a monkey. It was uncommon for women of this time to go fishing, so the woman depicted fishing was possibly an euphemism for prositution. A young girl in a white dress stands in the center of the work. She is asking possibly the viewers what will become of the individuals, and the class of people who are represented in this image.

Seurat was highly influenced by scientific studies of color theory and in particular by the work of Michel-Eugène Chevreul. Together with several other artists, Seurat developed the technique of pointillism. Pointillism breaks down colors into their respective hues in order to simulate natural light in the eye of the viewer. This is the technique that Seurat used in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Pointillism makes Seurat’s work particularly interesting because of how he was able to manipulate color and light.

In most paintings shadows are depicted by using black, however this is not the case with Seurat’s work. Seurat was instead able to trick the viewers eye into thinking that it was viewing shadows by defining these darker areas with the colors that they come into contact with instead of a solid black.

 

Famous Friday // The Raft of the Medusa

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Théodore Géricault, The Raft of Medusa, 1818-19, oil on canvas, 491 cm x 716 cm.

I began college as a studio art major. As a studio major it’s often required for students to enroll in several art history courses, usually the courses are survey classes which cover a large breadth of art history in a single semester. My school requires that studio majors take three art history survey classes: Non-Western Art, Pre-historic to Medieval, and Renaissance to Modern. The first survey class I took was Renaissance to Modern, where we spent some time learning about the first of Famous Friday works – The Raft of the Medusa. This is the work that sparked my interest in art history, and led me down a path of changing my major from studio to art history and was the gateway piece for my love of French paintings.

Géricault based his painting off of a contemporary event where a French boat carrying soldiers sank off of the coast of Senegal on a voyage to colonize the region in 1816. Captained by an officer who hadn’t sailed for nearly 20 years (and who was largely given the position as a political favor), the ship ran into a sandbank which sank the ship. A shortage of lifeboats caused many of the sailors to build their own raft and embarked on a two week mission in attempt to save their lives. Thirteen days after the ship sank, 15 survivors were rescued on the makeshift raft that they had created. This event quickly became an international scandal due to the incompetence of the French captain, and the sheer amount of human lives lost.

The painting itself pictures the moment where the remaining 15 sailors notice the rescue ship, Argus, in the distance. The raft is depicted barley afloat, with the crew in utter dispair. Closest to the viewer, several men are portrayed clutching on to one another, and almost being swept away by the oncoming waves. Towards the middle, the men have noticed a ship in the distance and they are attempting to make contact with the boat by waving pieces of fabric in the air.

The artist spent a great deal of time drafting, revising, and conversing with the survivors of the shipwreck in order to get a better understanding of the happenings, in order to create this work which we now know as one of the greatest icons of French Romanticism.

 

Museum Monday // MCA – Denver

Located in downtown Denver, I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art – Denver in late November. The three story museum was filled with an exhibit called Saber Acomodar, art and workshops of Jalisco 1915-now. Opened in September, 2017, in conjunction with the Biennial of the Americas, the exhibition investigates works created in Jalisco, Mexico, from 1915 to the present. The exhibition featured 25 artists who combined traditional techniques with contemporary ideas. MCA – Denver has a longstanding relationship with artists from Jalisco, artists including Jorge Méndez, and Eduardo Sarabia have showcased their work in the museum.

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One of my favorite works in the exhibit (pictured above) is Eduardo Terrazas‘ Crecimento exponencial. Made in 1975, Terrazas’ work is comprised of 16 paint on acrylic canvases. Terrazas’ work represents exponential growth. Exponential growth is signified by adding black lines to a white canvas until the canvas becomes totally black.

Overall, the MCA – Denver was a lovely little museum with a cute cafe on the top floor with stunning downtown views. The museum wasn’t all that busy when I was there, which gave me plenty of time to examine my favorite works in relative peace. I would recommend the MCA – Denver to a visiting museum buff, or a contemporary art fan. The museum itself probably would not take up more than an afternoon, which would leave you enough time to spend exploring downtown later in the evening.

 

Postcards from // Denver

Minus the huge amount of snow and wind in Rocky Mountain National Park, the weather was nearly perfect in Denver, especially for late November. In order to take advantage of this, we decided to head to the Denver Botanical Garden on Monday morning. Even for late fall, the garden was spectacular. The tropical conservatory and the Japanese garden were definitely my two favorite sub gardens. The tropical conservatory was obviously indoors, so it wasn’t effected by the upcoming winter in the ways that the outdoor gardens were. They had a wide array of flowers and trees in the indoor space. Unbeknownst to many, we discuss a wide variety of gardens in many art history courses. One of my favorite garden types is the Japanese garden.

 

We definitely worked up an appetite wandering around all of the paths at the botanical garden, so we headed to Denver Central Market for lunch. There were around 10 spectate vendors in the interior space of the market. They served everything from artisanal chocolates and pastries, to BBQ and Italian cuisine. The interior of the building was decorated with hispter eclecticism. Stainless steel countertops, fashionable lighting, and neon signs stole the show. I decided to get the lemon ravioli at Vero, the Italian joint. In no way was my meal traditional Italian cuisine, but it was so good!img_0399-1

To burn off all of our lunch calories, we headed to the Museum of Science and Nature. Before we even saw the museum, we knew it was going to be crowded! We barley found a parking spot, and nearly ran over several small families who decided that darting across a busy street was a good idea. That being said, I am a museum person, meaning that I could spend my entire life going in and out of museums and be perfectly content. The Science and Nature museum had a wide array of exhibits from astronomy to dinosaurs and the human body. My favorite was Exhibition Health. Basically, when you entered the exhibit you got a little card which was your identification and you swiped it at each station. There were a bunch of different stations that measured your heart rate, your cardiovascular health, your height, and your arm span. But, the show stopper was the Genetics of Taste Lab. We participated in their study, where they are researching savory and sour flavors. The lab gave us each 5 different samples of liquid flavors which were either flavorless, sweet, sour, or savory. We marked how each sample tasted on a program. Most of my samples were flavorless or tasted a lot like beef, which was a wild ride for a 5 year vegetarian.

The sun was setting over Denver as we left the museum, so we walked along a nearby pond to admire the sunset on the mountains before heading to dinner at Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey. Since we went on Monday, it was happy hour and we splurged on guac and some really great margs as well as some of the most tasty tacos ever.

Wanna read more about my Colorado adventure? Check out these posts!

Postcards From // Boulder & Estes Park

Oh man, oh man.

Thanksgiving break could not come soon enough to satisfy my heart. This semester has truly been a whirlwind for me. Earlier this semester I was initiated into Delta Phi Epsilon. Not only did I join DPhiE this semester, but I also served as the Vice President for my service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Couple my social activities with my upper level classes, and my photography business, you can see why I have been counting down the days until Thanksgiving break.

Two of my friends (Anna and Garren) and I decided to make the twelve hour trek from Missouri to Denver on the first Saturday of our break. We stayed in an AirBnB outside of Denver, in Aurora. The AirBnB mimicked the visual aesthetic that we expected of Colorado. It was oh so rustic, with a cute little loft for a living room.

Our first full day in the Centennial State was Sunday. I was lucky enough to wake up with the sunrise thanks to the skylight in the AirBnB (and snap several photos) before we headed out of Denver and into Estes Park.

Estes is a tiny little town at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. Before heading into the park we got breakfast at Mountain Home Cafe. The cafe is a rustic joint that shares a shopping mall with a Safeway (throwback to the time that I lived in Oregon, and Safeway’s were on most corners). I ordered the Arizona hash browns. Living in Missouri, I’m way too accustomed to ‘spicy’ food consisting of an entree flavored with a lot of black pepper, and maybe if you’re lucky a splash of red pepper flakes. Thankfully, the hash browns were the perfect amount of spice, and flavor.

After breakfast we finally headed up into the mountains! This wasn’t my first time visiting the mountains, but it was the first time that I have visited in the snowy season. We do get some snow in the dead of winter in Missouri, but never never that much! We saw a bunch of people sledding, and a few people skiing within the park.

 

Once we had enough of the frigid temperates up in the Rockies, we headed back down into Boulder to get lunch at Happa, where I seriously had the best vegetarian sushi of my life. After lunch we did some window shopping on Pearl Street before heading to Eldorado Canyon State Park to watch the sunset.

Thankfully the park was mostly empty, and we had the beautiful sandstone cliffs mostly to ourselves. Anna and Garren spent a bunch of time climbing the cliffs while I prefer to keep photographed the beautiful scenery. Right as the sun disappeared from the sky for the evening, the sky turned a beautiful color. It was purple, pink, and blue all at the same time, and was swirled with gorgeous gold colored clouds. Never have I ever seen such a beautiful sunset!

Read more of my Colorado experience here and here!